The Sella Group, a craggy protrusion of hulking granite in the Italian Dolomites, looks as if God got a hankering to do some dremel work. It’s sheer rock walls are cleaved with deep, snow-choked chasms that make the perfect thoroughfares for adventurous skiers. This little mountain group is home to one of the planet’s highest concentrations of couloirs, each as staggering and aesthetic as the next. In all, there are 80 named coulies in the Sella Group, many just a few hundred yards off the Sass Pordoi, a cable car that whisks you straight into the heart of the Sella Group and some of the best ski mountaineering lines I’ve ever seen.
I found myself in Italy thanks to the infinite kindness of Scarpa North America. The footwear and touring-boot company will be launching an impressive line of freeride boots next season. In anticipation of the launch, the company invited a few of us mangy journalists to tour the factory in Asolo, Italy, and ski the legendary Dolomites in the brand’s backyard. For five days, I followed Chris Davenport and our badass Italian ski guide Tommy down some of the best lines of my life. I still wake up dreaming of couloirs like the Joelle and Holzer.
And because no ridiculously awesome ski experience goes un-libated, I did my best to investigate the local beer culture while I was there. Sadly though, I never found a worthy Italian beer. The brews of this wine-loving culture were far too Budweiser-esque, so I looked north to the promised land of malt, hops, and alcohol: Germany. Erdinger Weißbier hails from the largest wheat beer brewer in the world. It’s packed with all the traditional German deliciousness one should expect from a Bavarian brew. Flavors range from fruity peach to sour yeast. It has the grassiness of a wheat beer and all the pure flavors associated with the strict German beer purity law Reinheitsgebot. In short, it’s a heck of a cap to Italian couloirs. It will quench the thirst, and warm you up for a second course of Italian wine.